Summertime is one of the busiest times of year. Most home cooks are looking for quick and easy meals while some are looking to use the grill more often to keep the oven heat out of the house.

At Fresh Chef Experience our two Specific-interest based experiences, Great Grillin’ and The Farmers Market Basket are the most request recipes to learn. So I have included a recipe we taught at Williams-Sonoma in May on making Pesto with hardy greens. Pestos with pasta make quick and easy meals. The oven isn’t needed so your kitchen won’t heat up on those hot summer days. Try this version with almost any hardy greens or nut combination.

Hardy Greens Pesto with Pasta 

12 ounces washed and cleaned hardy greens such as arugula, dandelion, mustard, kale, turnip greens

1 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, peeled

6 tbls nuts, lightly toasted, such as walnut or pine nuts

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

2 1/2 oz Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated

1 lb dried pasta, cooked to package directions

Put about one-third of the greens in a food processor, blender or Vitamix with the olive oil and chop for a minute, scraping down the sides. Add the remaining greens in two batches, until they’re all finely chopped up.

Add the garlic cloves, toasted nuts, salt, and Parmesan, and process until everything is a smooth puree. Taste, and add more salt if necessary. If it’s too thick, you can thin it with more olive oil.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Add the pasta water to the pesto to create a sauce then toss with the pasta. Top with extra Parmesan.

Look for Chef Stu and Chef Kathy at Williams-Sonoma this month on June 28th for Part One of our Great Grillin series. We will be there from 3:00-4:30 – hope you can join us.